A Dutch cyclist has spoken about how he managed to cheat death twice by narrowly avoiding travelling on both the doomed Malaysian Airlines flights.
Maarten de Jonge, 29, described how he not only changed his original plans to travel on the MH17 flight allegedly shot down over Ukraine, but also planned to get on board the still missing MH370 flight, which lost communication on 8 March after taking off from Kuala Lumpur airport.
De Jonge, a rider for the Malaysian Terengganu cyclist team, told Dutch television station RTV Oost that he changed his plans and avoided travelling on the MH17 flight at the last minute after discovering flying via Frankfurt would be a cheaper option.
During the interview, he also told how he was close to travelling on the MH370 flight, but changed his plans to avoid a stopover in Beijing. He even described how he spoke to some of those travelling on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight while they were waiting to board.
\"I could have taken that one just as easily,\" he said.
\"It\'s inconceivable. I am very sorry for the passengers and their families, yet I am very pleased I\'m unharmed.\"
However, after being \"overwhelmed\" by the interest from the media for his story, De Jonge wrote on his website how he will no longer be discussing his good fortune as he believes the story should focus on the victims and their families.
\"What has happened is terrible, so many victims, that\'s a horrible thing,\" he said.
From reverence for the victims and their families, I do not think it appropriate to tell my story to the fore act, something that has never been my intention,
\"I have my story done and I would like to leave it...my story is ultimately nothing compared to the misery so many have suffered.
\"Attention should be paid to the victims and survivors. Wishing everyone affected by this disaster a lot of strength. \"